10) WHOSE RIGHTS? PEOPLES' RIGHTS!
Pride 2018 Statement from the Communist Party of Canada, the CPC Pride Commission, and the Young Communist League
It’s becoming clearer by the day. Communists believe that securing full social equality rights for LGBTIQ2S communities in Canada is part of a wider global movement to advance human rights by building socialism.
The past year has seen some progressive steps and several setbacks. A glance at the latest State-Sponsored Homophobia Report gives a sobering picture of a backward slide in a number of UN states. Increasingly gender-based violence is rampant and widely targets trans women. As the political Right gains momentum in North America, across Europe and around the world there is a growing trend. Sexual minority issues are becoming ideological battlefields in political spaces.
Witness last summer's deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Or the cries of the evangelical and conservative Right to shut down Ontario’s sexual health curriculum and the SOGI* 1,2,3 curriculum across BC. (*Sexual Orientation Gender identity and expression and the rights of Intersex peoples.)
Despite the freedom we may feel within our annual celebrations of Pride (and in queer-positive enclaves where at times it is safe to express our sexual minority status) the bitter truth is that there is no country where people of the same sex who are romantically or sexually attracted to each other can always feel safe enough to hold hands in a public space, day or night.
In Canada, numerous trans and non-binary people are exposed to verbal and physical abuse just for expressing themselves as they do, for being who they are. And for intersex persons, invasive surgeries and non-recognition of their unique bodily construction, and numerous other indignities mean they face discrimination and violence daily.
Legal rights do not mean an end to violence & discrimination
The parallels are clear. The “gay village” serial killings in Toronto. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The disproportionate number of people of colour, sex workers, homeless and marginalized persons murdered without adequate police investigation - this must end.
Despite decades of legal provisions for and acceptance of sexual, gender and (more recently) sex [characteristics] diversity, the force of negation still exerts great power, played out through violence and discrimination in policy and law, forced surgeries and numerous other horrific violations. Globally we see a backlash at numerous national levels to the legislative progress made at the United Nations and at regional human rights institutions.
The persistent growth of right-wing and fascist forces in North America, and their conscious inflaming of hatred and fear is all part of the "othering" aimed at keeping us divided. Anti-immigrant, racist, Islamaphobic, anti-feminist, transphobic rhetoric and the demonization of "big labour", the "academic elite" and the "politically correct" - all undermine the legal gains we have secured. Rapid policy reversals of the Trump administration have further emboldened homo- trans- and biphobic forces. There are 28 US states where lesbians, trans, gays and bisexuals can be fired from the workplace.
It’s 2018. We need:
While unifying around demands for strong legal protections, and for socialized housing and full employment for all workers, we must give special attention to homeless and precariously-employed queer youth.
Social housing and nursing homes must be regulated in order to bring an immediate end to elder abuse and the “re-closeting” of retired lesbian, trans and gay workers.
Canada must recognize the historic and cultural basis of sexual diversity in societies globally and enforce the universal right to claim refugee status by people facing state-sponsored criminalization of our rights.
Against future pressure to strip our rights, Communists call to enshrine firm guarantees in law, to protect the legal gains already achieved by Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans, Intersex, Queer-identified and Two-Spirited peoples.
We can win this.
We have vigorously fought to win and expand our rights over many years, and we won't stop. We will build upon our learned history in advancing SOGI rights by unifying across attempts to divide us into silos of identity, and within a working class struggle against war and the rise of fascism.
Our job together is to align our struggles as working-class queers with all those in our communities standing up against capitalism.
· The end of profit-driven capitalism, patriarchy and the privileged status given to straight families. Instead, we demand a socialist economic system which provides the material and social conditions required by all, including sexual minorities, in order flourish.
· To be a key flank in the fight by the 99% to end corporate rule and to shape a mass movement for socialist change built around people’s demands and the rights of proud LGBTIQ2S communities.
· Strengthen and enforce hate crime legislation! No to all forms of transphobia, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia.
· Expand trans rights, including the explicit protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in all Provincial and Territorial laws and human rights codes;
· Make “conversion therapy” illegal. End two-tiered age of consent laws for LGBTQ2SIA youth, and protect Intersex minors from non-consensual surgery respecting bodily diversity.
· End the homophobic and unscientific blood ban for gay men donating blood.
· Increase social services and housing support to meet the needs of the 25-40% of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ2SIA.
· End austerity policies and the big business move towards precarious part-time employment, which disproportionately affect LGBTQ2SIA peoples hit by social program cutbacks
· No cops or military at Pride parades, reverse the corporatization of Pride events.
· Stop imperialism’s pinkwashing!
· No to foreign intervention in Venezuela, no to the pro-fascist government in Ukraine.
· Withdraw Canadian troops from Iraq, Syria and Mali!
· Support the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid.
· End Canadian arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
· Jobs not bombs - cut military spending by 75%.
(The above article is from the June 1-15, 2018, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)